It’s been a great run so far here at TAA. I have had the chance to work with artists who got books published, were paid to illustrate covers, sold their first piece of art to someone they never met over the internet (I’m always excited about how excited artists get about this), and generally made huge strides toward the independent, abundant lifestyle that every artist dreams of having
We have some incredible things coming up this year.
The Challenges of Marketing Trends
After teaching artists how to sell their art online for years, I’m seeing some interesting trends.
Problem #1 – there’s too much advice on how to sell art online, and too few artists doing a good job of it. I’ve been running TAA for years, and in that time, literally dozens of new ‘how to sell art online’ blogs have sprung up. Most of them have withered away and died, but a few of them are pretty good. The truth is that precious few artists are doing well online, so you have to look at the pioneers to see what they’re doing – and then see how you can adapt, not copy.
Problem #2 – search engine marketing is now expensive. Unless you have money for Pay Per Click ads or Search Engine Optimization services, you will be competing against established brands. Google is heavily weighted in favor of large brands with name recognition. As an artist, you can implement certain image SEO techniques, but it’s becoming more and more difficult to do so.
Problem #3 – everywhere you look online, people are telling you that you need to be on Facebook…or Twitter…or Pinterest…or some other social media. People are still bragging about how many followers they have. People are spending money to get attention on social media, without a plan for what to do once they have that attention. Hey, even we have a Facebook marketing course – but that alone won’t be enough.
Problem #4 – There’s a proliferation of art malls on the internet. Crappy companies that want you to list your art with them, but who probably won’t ever make any effort to guide the right collector to the right piece. Their business model is to list as much art as possible, and get as much traffic as possible, then hope that they match up. I like to call this the “spray and pray” method of selling art. In this situation, the artist benefits but little.
The Solution for Bad Marketing
The way around these problems is not some new fancy technique. A single method of marketing is not going to emerge that will suddenly allow you to become rich as an artist. There is something you can do, however.
You can start looking at each of these marketing techniques as part of your overall Content Marketing strategy.
Content Marketing is the fancy catch phrase for building a marketing program that will attract the right collectors.
Look – it used to be that sales people were the primary driver of art sales. You walked into a gallery and a salesperson talked you about the art, gave you all of the information that you required, and then they pressured you into buying something.
Now, we are experiencing a fundamental shift in the way that sales take place. Because of the Internet, collectors can, and do, research an artist before they make a purchase. They can use search engines and social media to find an artist who matches their living room or corporate office. They can find an artist to draw their tattoo, create a stencil for their walls, or any other kind of art.
The question is, when people go looking for art, will your art be found? Content Marketing is the way that you can make sure that this happens.
You, and Your Art, are the Key to Good Content Marketing
When people buy art, they buy the artist. They want to know your story, what inspires you to create, how you did it, and what you are working on next.
Good Content Marketing is storytelling. It’s NOT churning out crappy articles and blog posts just to get search engine attention. It’s NOT spamming your followers on Facebook and Twitter. Learning to tell your story in a compelling way, across multiple mediums, is the key to good content marketing.
As an artist, you already have a vision. You know why you create. If you work in a series, even better. That gives you a story to tell.
One of my favorite artists is great at Content Marketing. Gwenn Seemel’s new series Crime Against Nature depicts the interesting variations on fertility that nature shows.
“For all my investigating and exploring, I still couldn’t control whether or not I can have children, but I could decide to have a children’s book instead. So I did. Crime Against Nature is this book and it’s also a series that I am exhibiting as a version of the text that viewers can wander through as they read. Whatever the format, book or show, Crime Against Nature is meant for the kid in all of us: the person who hasn’t yet felt the pressure to conform, the one who still sees the infinite possibilities of being.”
Gwenn has published her series of paintings not just as paintings, but as a book, a series of blog posts, some great videos, a live showing, and more. Gwenn, and she would probably never say this about herself, is a skilled story teller. She knows how to communicate her point of view through modern tools.
I Want to Help You Build Your Own Content Marketing Strategy
Over the next weeks and months, we are going to explore what it really means to do Content Marketing as an artist. We will explore topics like:
1. How to Tell the Epic Story of Your Art – understanding your own story as an artist, and learning how to tell that story to others (hint: we’ll use Beowulf as an example)
2. Building a Blog That Makes Collectors Swoon – how can you get collectors genuinely excited by blogging?
3. How Sharing is the Secret to Online Success – if the images of your art are just sitting on your website, but nobody is seeing them, what good are they doing you? Learn the secret to getting those images to work harder for you!
So, are you excited? What else do you want to know about Content Marketing?
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